Zoo in China dyes Chow Chows to look like pandas, attracts queues
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Zoo in China dyes Chow Chows to look like pandas, attracts queues

Chow Chows dyed to look like pandas in China zoo draws crowds

Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu Province, China, unveiled two “panda dogs” over the recent Labour Day holidays, attracting flocks of tourists. While undoubtedly cute, some people questioned whether they were real pandas. It turns out that the ‘pandas’ are in fact Chow Chows dyed to look like the bamboo-eaters.

Some netizens asked whether dyeing their fur constituted animal cruelty.

Although people cried foul, the zoo appears to have placed a sign informing visitors of the animals’ true species.

Furthermore, a staff member reportedly said the dye used is no different from humans dying their hair.

Chow Chows dyed to look like pandas at China zoo

According to Chinese media reports, the Taizhou Zoo advertised “panda dogs” at the tourist attraction between 1 to 5 May.

This was accompanied by a viral video showing the two animals.

Source: West China Network

But several netizens had their suspicions that the “panda dogs” weren’t as they seemed. After a reporter called Taizhou Zoo on 4 May, a ticket salesperson confirmed that the “panda dogs” were in fact two Chow Chows.

Other videos online show “panda dogs” actually being Chow Chows dyed in black and white to look like pandas.

Miss Chen, a tourist, went to Taizhou Zoo on 3 May. After discovering the “Panda Dog”, she took pictures and videos and uploaded them to her Xiaohongshu account.

She told a reporter from Shangyou News: “On 3 May, I passed by the zoo and saw a lot of people. The road was full of cars and there was a traffic jam, so I simply got out of the car and bought a ticket for 20 yuan (S$3.75) to visit.”

“Later, I heard many people asking where the panda was, so I followed the crowd. When I arrived at the scene, I discovered that the attraction was not an actual panda, but a ‘panda dog’.”

Source: West China Network

The sign did not hide the fact that the “panda dogs” are not a species of panda but dogs dyed to look like them.

Although they weren’t actual pandas, there were many tourists waiting to see them, Ms Chen claimed.

“There were too many people and there was a queue. I really didn’t expect it. I’ve seen giant pandas many times, and this is the first time I’ve seen a ‘panda dog’. It’s quite interesting,” she said.

Staff wanted to ‘fill gap’ as there were no pandas at zoo

“The ‘panda dogs’ are Chow Chows with their fur dyed and were just launched on May Day,” a staff member of the Taizhou Zoo was reported as saying.

They added that an adult ticket costs 20 yuan and visitors aren’t charged extra to view the ‘panda dogs’.

Asked if dyeing the dogs’ fur constituted animal cruelty, the employee replied: “People also dye their hair. Dogs can also dye their fur if they have long fur. It’s no different from hair.”

“There are no pandas in the park, so I wanted to fill the gap by doing this,” they noted, adding that visitors can only view the “panda dogs” between 8.30am and 5pm and that there is a queue.

Varying opinions regarding dyeing animal fur

A reporter consulted a veterinarian, Mr Shi, to ask if there were any risks.

“The risk of pet fur dyeing is the same as that of human hair dyeing,” he said.

“There is a risk of damaging the fur, skin and fur follicles. From this perspective, it is not recommended to do it,” Mr Shi added, noting that a dye job should be left to a professional.

Generally speaking, as long as the pet does not lick their fur during the dyeing process, it will not be a big problem and it will be fine after the dye dries.

In addition, chemical hair dyes are definitely not as safe as natural hair dyes. However, a professional pet beautician said that natural dyes should be suitable for pets. Better ones cost more than 100 yuan (S$19).

“As long as the dog has healthy skin, good health, and long fur, they can dye their fur,” Luo Luo, the beautician said.” This is very popular in other countries and the dye will not splash. We will leave a safe distance of about one centimetre from the skin as well.”

In addition, dyeing a Chow Chow into a “panda dog” requires relatively high technology and the price isn’t cheap.

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Featured image adapted from West China Network.

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